Expats Guide: Balut, A Culinary Fascination around the Globe

Balut is a developing duck embryo that is hard-boiled and eaten directly from the shell. Perhaps you’ve heard about it as the object of culinary fascination around the world. Balut is stapled street food in the Philippines which has dismayed even the most adventurous foodies with its carnal structures. But once you’ve overcome your hang-ups you’re on your way to a mouth-watering adventure of a savory soup combined with a meaty fowl and a tasty warm yolk.

Balut eggs are incubated in the sun or submerged in the sand for a period of 14 to 21 days. The incubation period depends on the duck farmer’s wishes on how well he wants the embryo developed. The longer the incubation period the more recognizable are the features of a duckling. The ideal balut harvest is 17 days old. The partially developed embryo is soft and fluffy to chomp and easy to gulp down especially with a bottle of beer.

For the faint hearted, we recommend the penoy, an unfertilized egg. The embryo is not fully developed with no features of a duckling; it is incubated in 5 days or less. This can be coated with orange-colored batter and deep-fried to make the street food called tokneneng.

Balot is sold on the streets by a roaming mambabalut, balut vendor. The goods are placed inside a basket covered with cloth to keep the eggs warm. You can usually spot them during night time shouting “Baluuuuut…Pennnnoy!” to attract customers. You can ask them for a less-developed balut but, realistically, they don’t have any idea on how their wares look like and you just have to take what they offer.

Eating balut is just like consuming a hard-boiled egg with some twists in the process. Here is a guide to make your balut eating experience more memorable.

  1. Find the right egg, it should have a thick shell with no cracks.
  2. Locate the rounded end, some balut eggs come with a stamp to mark the end where you are supposed to open. If it isn’t, look for the plumper, rounded end, disparate to the more pointed one. The pointed side contains the egg white while the rounded one holds the yolk and broth.
  3. Tap the rounded side of the egg on a hard object to break the shell. Be careful to crack only the top portion. Remove every bits of cracked shell to make a small opening at the top avoiding pieces of shell to fall on the broth. With your fingers pick away the skin protecting the shell to release the broth.
  4. Prepare your desired dipping sauce some like it with salt, others prefer it with vinegar mixed with chillies, onion, and salt.
  5. Drop your dipping sauce to the opening in the egg shell and suck the broth out.
  6. When you gobbled down the broth, it’s time to peel away at the rest of the egg to expose the rest for a pure eating pleasure.
  7. You can either sprinkle it with your fav dipping sauce or roll it around in your bowl. It will take a bite or two or more if you crave for extras.

For the adventurous foreigner, there’s no harm in trying the balut, it’s not known to cause any allergic reactions. Be sure to keep those selfies clicking as you experience balut in the Philippines.


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Expats in the Philipppines

Expats in the Philipppines

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